Just like that it is all gone. In tonight's second round action in the NCAA Volleyball Tournament, the #5 seeded Gators fell in five sets to the Florida State Seminoles. Their 2013 season is now over and the Seminoles will face the winner of the match between California and Wisconsin in the Sweet 16. For anyone wondering, my prediction for the Gators reaching the Elite Eight has obviously fallen through big time.
For the last time of the 2013 season, here are my standouts for the game. I would like to recognize junior defensive specialist Maddie Monzerez. She came off of the bench and played extremely well with 13 digs and three assists. She played her heart out, and was one of three Gators with double digit assists. The other two were junior libero Taylor Unroe and sophomore Ziva Recek who both registered 15 digs a piece. In their final game as Florida Gators, Chloe Mann and Taylor Brauneis played well as always. Mann racked up 14 kills while Brauneis recorded 45 assists and four digs. As a team, the Gators had 18 blocks, seven of which involved Mann. Apart from Mann, Simone Antwi (14), Ziva Recek (10), and Alex Holston (10) all registered double digit figures in kills as well.
It was tough seeing the Florida State Seminoles celebrate on the home court of the Gators after this shocking upset. It made me feel angry and dejected because I knew the potential that this Gator team had. However, I did say in the preview that this game would be decided by whoever made the least amount of mistakes. That team was definitely not the Gators. They allowed three straight aces in the fourth set and had six net violations total in the match. In sets one and four, the Gators could not find a way to regain the lead once FSU went up early. I knew FSU would come out firing after getting swept earlier this year. I have said this before and I will say it again. When it comes to rivalry games, records can be thrown out the door. FSU won the battle on this night, and it just so happened to come on one of the biggest of stages. Besides this early tournament exit, it has still been a great season for the 2013 Gator Volleyball team. It will be a tough offseason for the Gators following a loss of this magnitude at home to their archival, but they will bounce back. The greatest lessons are learned from defeat and if anybody can use this loss to motivate the girls for next year, it is head coach Mary Wise.
*Stats accredited to Gatorzone.com